From Rock River Sweep
For our northern Illinois area, great thanks go to Steve Repkema the president of the board of RockRiverSweep.org for keeping the event vital and growing. We all want to welcome and praise our newest coordinator and great prize finders, bringing in the South Beloit Area, Steve Dhom and his boss Bill Z ang of Universal Hovercraft. Zang’s crew and Steve Popular of the Illinois Paddling Council took care of the area from the Fordam Dam to the end of Blackhawk Island. The Martin sisters, Jenna, Julie and Jade were not only great workers in South Beloit, but were also fine “Vanna Whites” at Saturday’s award ceremony at the Prairie Street Brewhouse–thanks to PSB’s Manager Chris Manuel and his superb staff their for their donation of space and time. Steve Ragsdale deserves praise for taking on the Roscoe area for the first time, too. Chuck and Jane Barber plus Mike and Pij Ricter really worked the River Key’s area. “Pickle,” Sandy, Whitey and Jackie Anderson and the whole Ski Broncs Team did a great job in Loves Park and Machesney Park. Steve Lucas of Rock River Enterprises did an amazing job of cleaning from the Riverside Bridge to the Auburn Street Bridge. Our special “on-foot” sweepers Beth Campisi and Jerry Irelan pulled in 15 bags of trash off the bike path down to the Fordam Dam. Mary Gardner help with the awards setup and then joined Jim Svymanski to pontoon from the Auburn Street Bridge to the dam, and she said they only saw 11 bottles and cans on the shore and NOTHING in the water. Amazed, she noted the water quality was very good. Rocktown Adventures has been working that area during their kayaking lessons and it shows! Mike Challis and the Bryon Forest Preserve continued their good work in Byron proper. Super special thanks have to go to Mandy and Ryan Raether, Tim Benedict, and Herb Wuerfel for working the area north of Byron. Wuerfel unique donations for prizes took the day at the awards ceremony, particularly the hand-carved, three-foot-high, wooden bear, that awardee Pickle Anderson’s river neighbors are plotting to kidnap for beer ransom. Total volunteers this year: 165 plus. Go go rockriversweep.org and click on the Facebook symbol for pictures of the Oregon clean up and see our photogallery at RockRiverTimes.com on Wednesday. To the many volunteers not named: THANK YOU.
Besides just plain fun, what was really amazing were this year’s prizes donated by: Universal Hovercraft Experience; Specialty Coating, Truck Bed Liner and Painting; Local Sports Bar; 615 Supper Club; Hometown Food & Liquor; Apex Exterior Services; Tilley’s Pizza; Rockford Art Museum; District Bar & Grill; JR Kortman’s; Backyard Grill and Bar; Anderson Awning; Tad’s Bar; Rockford Art Deli; Rockford Brewing Company; Greenwich Village Art Fair; The Music Academy in Rockford; Rockford Art Deli and Apex Exteriors. Julia Halsted of our Rockford Park District went way out her way to deliver the many, many prizes authorized by Executive Director Tim Dimke. WNIJ-WNIU’s Development Director Bert Gray really came through, too, as did all the staff at Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, particularly Jenny Caiozzo. We had prizes that totaled more than $3,000.
Next year, we expect prizes to total over $5,000. See you for more fun and more prizes and more people helping more sections of our Rock River on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016.